As a consumer, you’re entitled to one free credit report once per annum from any of the four consumer credit bureaus listed below.
According to the National Credit Regulator’s (NCR) Credit Bureau Monitor (CBM), out of more than 27 million credit active consumers, only about 395 000 accessed their credit reports in the quarter ending in December 2020. The CBM shows that a significant number of consumers do not check their credit reports as often as they ought to. Although there had been an increase in the number of consumers accessing their credit reports, the figures still remained low, said Anne-Carien Du Plooy, Acting Manager: Education and Communication at the NCR.
A credit report provides a consumer’s credit information, or history. This includes:
- Applications for credit;
- Credit agreements to which a person is or has been a party;
- *Pattern of payment;
- Defaults under any such credit agreements;
- Debt review status.
The National Credit Act also stipulates how long the information should be kept at the credit bureaus, Du Plooy said.
Consumers are entitled to one free credit report once per annum from any of the four consumer credit bureaus listed below. When you access your credit report:
- You will see what’s contained in your credit report.
- You will be able to dispute any incorrect information with that credit bureau.
- You will be able to make necessary payments where required and work on fixing your credit rating, for example if you have an adverse listing, judgment etc.;
- Accessing your credit report will also tell you if you’ve been a victim of identity fraud.
The benefits of a good credit profile
A healthy credit profile will enable a consumer to qualify for credit and get a lower interest rates as opposed to someone who has a bad credit report. A credit report can also be checked in instances where a company is considering a candidate for employment in a position that requires honesty in dealing with cash or finances. A bad credit report might affect your chances of getting a job, Du Plooy said.
“Our message to the youth is to aim to keep a clean credit profile all the time,” Du Plooy said.
“This can be done by avoiding unnecessary credit, paying all debts as and when required and saving for emergencies.”
She also said consumers should avoid taking debt for other people, for example, letting your partner take clothing on credit with the promise that they will make monthly repayments. Remember that the person responsible for payment of the debt is the one who signs the credit agreement: any verbal agreement a friend or family member makes with you will not count.
The NCR urges all consumers to contact any of the credit bureaus listed below and request a free copy of their credit report. Consumers should dispute any incorrect information with the credit bureaus.
Contact one of these credit bureaus
|Experian||011 799 3400/ 086 151 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|TransUnion||0861 886 email@example.com|
|XDS||0860 937 000
011 645 9100
|Consumer Profile Bureau||(010) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Only escalate your issue to the Credit Ombud if the credit bureaus cannot assist you.|
|Credit Ombud||0861 662 email@example.com|
|National Credit Regulator||0860 627 firstname.lastname@example.org|